A1 Journal article – refereed

Dream Sharing and the Enhancement of Empathy: Theoretical and Applied Implications

List of Authors: Blagrove M, Lockheart J, Carr M, Basra S, Graham H, Lewis H, Murphy E, Sakalauskaite A, Trotman C, Valli K


Place: Washington

Publication year: 2021

Journal: Dreaming

Journal name in source: DREAMING

Journal acronym: DREAMING

Volume number: 31

Issue number: 2

Number of pages: 12

ISSN: 1053-0797

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/drm0000165

This study replicated and extended a previous finding that the discussion of dreams increases the level of empathy toward the dreamer from those with whom the dream is discussed. The study addressed mediating variables for the empathy effect. Participants who already knew each other were recruited in dyads and were assigned dream-sharer and discusser roles. Each dyad used the Ullman dream appreciation technique to explore the relationship of the sharer's dreams to recent experiences in the sharer's life, with a maximum of 4 dream discussions per dyad (mean length of dreams = 140.15 words, mean discussion length = 23.72 min). The empathy of each member of a dyad toward the other was assessed using a 12-item state empathy questionnaire. A total of 44 participants (females = 26, males = 18, M-age = 26.70) provided empathy scores at baseline and after each dream discussion. For below median baseline empathy scorers, empathy of discussers toward their dream-sharer increased significantly as a result of the dream discussions, with medium effect size, eta(2) = .39. Dream-sharers had a nonsignificant increase in empathy toward their discusser. Change in empathy was not linear across successive discussions, and was not related to length of dream reports, nor length of discussions. These findings of postsleep, social effects of dreaming, with possibly a group bonding function, go beyond theories of dreaming that have a within-sleep emotional or memory processing function for the individual.

Last updated on 2021-21-09 at 12:27